The NSW Valuer General offices is making news for all the wrong reasons. Dr David Parker, the Valuer General, has been banned from speaking to staff and only allowed to communicate with a handful of specific people because the staff are “anxious and fearful” according to media reports. This is very bad timing for as with numerous projects being fast tracked, in particular the Sydney Metro West train line, compulsory acquisitions cases are being held up due to the internal problems. This has added to the already huge pile that the Valuer General has to get through. Mr Parker's office is currently overwhelmed with this influx of new property acquisitions. For the owners and tenants with compensation claims, it also has an impact in extensive delays in the final determinations being issued.
This situation puts tremendous additional stress to the owners whose property is being compulsory acquired. Some FM Legal clients have already felt the brunt of these delays and minimal communication has been given regarding the delays. We have been able to seek advance payments from Sydney Metro to get compensation paid to the owners and tenants even without the final determination by seeking payment of 80% of previous offers. Whilst Sydney Metro have been accommodating with this, it is still an unsatisfactory position as the final outcome is sometimes needed before a decision can be made to relocate.
The process under the Just Terms Act only allows the Valuer General 45 days to issue a final decision but yet current decisions are running at around 90 days, leaving a flaw in the Act very obvious. There is no recourse for the late decisions being issued, although interest is payment on compensation currently at the rate of 2.68%. This is small comfort for owners in this hot property market and we hope that the Valuer General is able to overcome the problems as the impacted owners and tenants whose land has already been acquired have already suffered enough.
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